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When does a defect trigger the lemon law?

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2024 | Vehicle Defects

The California lemon law stands as a safeguard for vehicle buyers. When someone owns a new vehicle and ends up facing persistent defects, this law could be helpful in getting a new vehicle or a refund.

Understanding when a defect triggers the lemon law is important for anyone wanting to use their rights under this law.

Repair attempts

The key trigger for the lemon law is an unresolved defect that the dealer cannot fix within a reasonable number of attempts. A reasonable number can vary, but legal standards generally set it as under four attempts or within 30 total days of work. The law acknowledges that consumers should not have the burden of a faulty vehicle for an extended period.


There are specific instances where a defect could pose a serious threat to the safety of the vehicle occupants. In such cases, the lemon law accelerates the resolution process. For serious issues, two repair attempts are enough to be a reasonable chance for the dealer to fix the problem. This provision emphasizes the importance of promptly addressing issues that could potentially lead to serious injury or death.

Important notes

It is important to note that the focus of the lemon law is on defects that substantially impair the use, value or safety of the vehicle. Frivolous or minor issues may not necessarily qualify under the lemon law. In addition, for a defect to invoke the California lemon law, the vehicle must be under warranty from the manufacturer.

The California lemon law serves as a shield for consumers facing persistent defects in their vehicles. By recognizing the triggers for this law, individuals can assert their rights and seek resolution when facing substantial defects that compromise their new vehicles.